Crowds gathered despite the rain for 2014 Seedtech maize open day

Visitors shelter from the rain under Seedtech umbrellas at their annual maize open day in south Kilkenny.
Visitors shelter from the rain under Seedtech umbrellas at their annual maize open day in south Kilkenny.

Seed Technology Ltd recently hosted their annual Maize Open Day at their trials site in Co Kilkenny.

The event offered visitors the opportunity to view the latest maize varieties on the Department of Agriculture Recommended List along with new, upcoming varieties in Seedtech trials. Maize varieties are constantly improving offering farmers a wide range of varieties suitable for all conditions. Growers should give a preference to varieties on the Department of Agriculture Recommended List as these are extensively trialed and tested varieties, which offer higher yields and starch content but most importantly reliable performance. 2014 will be remembered as one of the best years for growing maize as a long warm summer has meant early ripening of plants with cutting dates brought forward by up to 2 weeks in some areas.

With maize sowing increasing under plastic, the variety choice on the Department of Agriculture Recommended List suitable for growing with plastic cover has greatly improved this year. Seedtech’s Maize Open Day included Grosso which looked very impressive producing a large well filled cob, and excellent bulk in the plant. This variety has now completed its third year in official trials and is up for recommendation in 2015. The next variety that really caught the eye was LG 30 211 which has been a consistent performer under plastic for farmers for the last few years. This variety appears to have it all. It produces a very large cob coupled with an imposing plant and has two years completed in official trials. “With the market moving primarily to plastic use, the variety offering that we are seeing from the breeders is coming along in leaps and bounds with the future being very bright” says Seedtech’s maize expert Kevin Cunningham. “The varieties we have been trialing for the last number of years are now coming to the market and will show a large shift in the capabilities of covered varieties”. MAS 23E, which topped official trials last year has been an excellent performer. This variety is in its third year in trials, is a good all-rounder and one to watch for the future.

In the non-plastic trials visitors viewed the current top varieties from the Department of Agriculture Recommended List on display. Severus which looked very impressive in the trial site is due for recommendation in 2015. With its consistent dry matter and starch content, it looks like it will set a new standard on the recommended list for early maturing. Kroft looked exceptional as it completes its first year on the recommended list. Beethoven again holds its status as the highest yielding variety on the recommended list and has been a proven variety on farm in Ireland. Atrium which was provisionally recommended two years ago is a consistent performer with a very good stay green effect. The new varieties in department trials include Fieldstar and Arcade, all are looking very well and performing as expected, with Arcade due for recommendation this year.